Summer Camping

Over the years I have been doing youth ministry I have heard of and experienced many different kinds of summer camping.  The more popular ones seem to be:

  1. Going on a week-long summer camp.  The purpose of this camp is mainly discipleship (although students are encouraged to bring their friends) and fellowship.
  2. Going on a mission trip.  The purpose of this trip is to serve others and build community amongst the students going.
  3. Going on an outreach trip.  Young Life does this so well with their summer camps.  The purpose here is to bring non-christian students to camp so that they can hear and hopefully respond to the gospel by accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior

Of these 3, I have done the mission and outreach trips.  I have never led or participated in a summer camp before.  I have not done an outreach summer camp since I left Young Life in 2003 (although I have done weekend outreach trips since then).  My primary trip over the summer since I have been at Cedar Run has been to do a mission trip.  The reasons why I like doing a mission trip over the summer are because:

  • I like challenging students to step out of their comfort zone and pushed in their faith.
  • As I mentioned above, Young Life does such a great job at outreach camps that I would rather just send them to Young Life camp than try to duplicate what they do.
  • With all the summer camps that students can do over the summer, I like to keep camp trips light.  I am a firm believer in mission trips so I do not schedule a regular summer camp mainly out of default.  I do not have a strong belief in or against it.

What about you?  What is the camping you do and why do you do it?  Post some comments so we can be encouraged and challenged.



Filed under Camping, Planning

2 responses to “Summer Camping

  1. In having lunch with Tom the other day and in talking our summer plans over with him, I realize that we are out of control busy with summer camps.

    Summer is the time where we cancel all regular scheduled youth ministry weekly events and meetings and we focus heavily on summer camps and day trips. Camp is what we do in the summer.

    I really like the three categories that Tom has put together for camps. The only one that I might add would be day camps/vacation Bible School. We do a mission trip week, Camp Bennett, a week long adventure day trip week,Adventure Discipleship, an outreach summer camp/discipleship week, SHACC, and an intense 4 day camp for discipleship, DC/LA. This is a lot, probably too much in retrospect, but it does give a variety of opportunity throughout the summer for youth to plug in and the variety keeps each camp small, manageable, and intimate for relational ministry and discipleship.

    In preparation for our mission trip to Camp Bennett a friend of mine, our building manager Patrick, asked the Camp Director and I if summer camp was still worth doing, because it seemed to him that camp as we once knew it seemed to be fading out. Our answer was instinctive and immediate, “Yes! Summer camp is worth doing now more than ever.” With all the new technology, movies, computers, music, the internet, and so on, it is more important now than it has ever been before for youth to be outside and to have relational free play in the wild and in the great outdoors. Summer camp is well overdue for revival and is a pivotal place for growth, development, and discipleship. Summer camps are a key components for discipleship in our ministry and we have seen the results that keep us going to camp.

    Thanks for a great topic Tom!

    A happy camper, making happy campers and disciples for Christ,


    • Tom

      So true Robbie. Also, I forgot to add that 4th type of camping which is the Adventure camping. I know you have your great mission ( to the outdoors. Everyone should check it out. I know I am looking forward to trying that out this year. When I was in high school, I went to LaVida (a Gordon College sponsored trip). That was high adventure training as well and that was a completely different experience from regular summer camp in which pushed and challenged me in Christ as well. It is a great ministry opportunity for students.

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